Though Osaka may not be quite as popular as Tokyo in terms of mega-cities, and Nara is not as often-visited as Kyoto in terms of traditional culture, the journey between the two is still a very well-traveled one. Many visitors will opt to spend considerable time in Japan’s counter-cultural home of Osaka and take the opportunity to visit Nara from there. Our guide explains how to get from Osaka to Nara.
Best Way to Get from Osaka to Nara: Join a Tour
Traveling around a foreign country can be stressful and overwhelming. All the signs are in a different language and you just can’t seem to find the platform. Japan is, unfortunately, no exception to this. Osaka and Nara are both wonderful must-see cities, but sometimes the process of navigating between them can ruin the experience entirely. This is where Tourist Japan comes in, taking care of all the logistics and accompanying you along the way.
Our 8 day Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara & Osaka Tour Package is the absolute best way to tick off Osaka, Nara, and so many other magical Japanese cities. With just one booking, you’ll have everything organized, including your hotels and guided tours. In each city, you’ll be whisked off on an incredible adventure to see the best spots and hidden gems.
Other Ways to Get from Osaka to Nara
For this relatively simple journey, there are two options for how to reach your destination. One of which is the ubiquitous JR company, and the other is Kintetsu. The JR Yamatoji is a direct service that travels between Osaka station and Nara station, taking just 50 minutes and costing 800 Yen (ca. 8 USD). Good news for JR Pass holders, therefore, as this journey will be included in their pass though it won’t save a huge amount of money. The Kintetsu option departs from Osaka Namba and arrives into the Kintetsu Nara station, taking a mere 40 minutes and costing just 560 Yen (ca. 5,60 USD).
While they take similar times, the Kintetsu service is slightly cheaper, particularly over two journeys. The JR Osaka station is located in the north of the city, in the commercial Umeda district where much of the city’s skyscrapers are based, while the Namba station is in the south, next to the popular nightlife district of Dotonbori. Most hotels/ hostels are located closer to Dotonbori in the south but choosing which one to depart from is really just a matter of where you are at the time. The journey between the two Osaka hubs could take 15-20 minutes so it’s not really worth travelling across the city before your trip to Nara.
Upon arriving in Nara, however, the Kintetsu station is much better located than the JR alternative, being practically next door to Nara Park which is home to the majority of the city’s tourist attractions. Nara is fairly small though and almost everywhere is within walking distance so don’t be too worried if you arrive at the main Nara station, to the west of the centre.
Discount Pass for getting from Osaka to Nara
The Kintetsu company also offers several discount passes for the region, all of which are beneficial for a trip to Nara. Their ‘Rail Pass’ covers five days of regular Kintetsu trains for 3,600 Yen (ca. 36 USD), while there is also a two day option for 2,500 Yen (ca. 250 USD) and a one day offer of 1,500 (ca. 15 USD). All three of these would allow for a trip to Nara and back, as well as visiting Kyoto using the same pass.
The train connections in this part of Japan are so good that there isn’t actually any bus service between Osaka and Nara. However, those landing at Osaka Itami Airport can use the ‘Osaka Airport Limousine’ bus company for 1,480 Yen (ca. 14 USD), reaching Nara in one hour.
Unlock the Magic of Nara With Tourist Japan
Nara is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Osaka. Whatever route you choose to take, you can arrive at this unique city in under an hour. If you’re looking to get even more out of your trip to Japan, our 8 day tour package will give you the ultimate experience, transporting you around all the best spots as well as off-the-beaten-track. If you choose to travel there on your own, allow us to show you the wonder of Nara with our Nara half-day trip walking tour. Explore the old town, gain insider secrets from the expert guide, check out the Japanese pyramid, and marvel at the huge temple. Whatever you need, Tourist Japan is here to help.